Usborne buys Patel’s humorous middle grade at auction

Usborne buys Patel’s humorous middle grade at auction

Usborne has acquired a funny three-book series about a “bridesmaid detective” by debut author Serena Patel.

The series is about a girl called Anisha Mistry who is preparing to be a bridesmaid at her aunt’s wedding when Uncle Tony, Aunty Bindi’s husband-to-be, is kidnapped. Anisha turns her hand to detective work to find out where Tony is to try and save the Indian wedding of the year.

Usborne acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights to three books in a four-way auction from Kate Shaw at the Viney Shaw Agency. The books will be edited by commissioning fiction editor Stephanie King, who is also a volunteer for Megaphone – a writer development scheme giving support to BAME (Black, Asian or other Minority Ethnic) writers as they write their first novel for children or teenagers.

The first two books will publish in 2019 followed by a third in 2020.

Rebecca Hill, editorial fiction director, said: “With a true gift for well-observed situational comedy, we all knew immediately that we had to publish this brilliant, laugh-out-loud series by Serena Patel. It is particularly timely that we are able to announce after the CLPE Reflecting Realities survey concluded that only 1% of children's books have BAME main characters, and that only one children’s book published in 2017 featuring a BAME character was defined as comedy.

“It is, of course, hugely important for every child to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and we hope Serena Patel’s irrepressible and irresistible heroine, Anisha Mistry, is just part of the change which is so desperately needed within the publishing industry.”